Sunil Gavaskar feels India must persist with an out-of-form Virender Sehwag. The veteran Indian opener, who was caught behind off a length ball from Peter Siddle for six on Sunday morning, has been facing a run drought but Gavaskar says India must keep respecting his abilities as a dasher.
In an exclusive chat with NDTV, Gavaskar said: "Sehwag got a killer ball. Any batsman would get out so it is time Sehwag needs our understanding. Someone who has got over 8000 Test runs has to be respected. Like skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said, Sehwag needs a long long rope and I agree."
Gavaskar feels India cannot ignore Sehwag's ability to thump the ball. "That's the way he plays and if he was around, India would have been 360 and not 311," Gavaskar said, emphasizing the need to persist with Sehwag.
Gavaskar was all praise for Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay, who struck an unbeaten 294-run stand against Australia on Day 2 of the Hyderabad Test. Gavaskar, who shares the record for the highest second wicket partnership of 344 runs for India in Test cricket, feels the more than 30-year-old milestone can be surpassed by Pujara and Vijay.
Praising both batsmen for their determined innings, Gavaskar said that he was impressed with the batting strategy on display.
"It was an excellent partnership. They gave the first session to the bowlers and then hit back hard. Both showed that they were prepared to wait. Once they got the hang of the pace, they took full control in the second session. That they scored above 300 runs means the rate of scoring was good too," he said.
Pujara's unbeaten 162 had 25 boundaries and a six. "Pujara has begun on the right note. He is giving Indian batting substance which is what is needed. He can play spin and pace well and that is what you need at number three. He certainly is looking very, very good," said Gavaskar.
The hosts have a lead of 74 runs and Gavaskar said that India may add another 150 in the first innings.
"Australia won't win this match. They may save it but won't win it. India will add another 150 if not more which means a lead of 280. It (then)won't be easy for Australia to score over and ask India to bat again."